Security, North America
An F-35 used sensors, on-board computers and targeting systems to find, track and destroy two airborne drones at once.
Previous test data and observers have confirmed the F-35 identified and targeted the drone with its mission systems sensors, passed the target ‘track’ information to the missile, enabled the pilot to verify targeting information using the high off-boresight capability of the helmet mounted display and launched the AIM-9X from the aircraft to engage the target drone, a statement from the F-35 JPO said.
When a single F-35 used sensors, on-board computers and targeting systems to find, track and destroy two airborne drones at the same time with air-to-air missiles, the emerging 5th Gen fighter transitioned into a new era for offensive attack missions.
An F-35 pilot fired two Advanced Medium-Range Air-to-Air Missiles at maneuvering drones in the air, brining synchronized attack to a new level for the aircraft, using an integrated targeting sensor, called the Electro-Optical Targeting System (EOTS).
“Two AMRAAMs had multiple targets - to shoot two airborne targets simultaneously. It was a complex set up that happened over the Pacific. They were shooting at drones,” Lt. Col. Tucker Hamilton, F-35 Test Director, Edwards AFB, told reporters.
The test, which of course brings substantial tactical implications, was referenced as a decisive element of the Pentagon’s now completed multi-year System Development and Demonstration (SDD) test phase for the F-35.
The SDD phase completion milestone, which paves the way for accelerated full-rate production of the aircraft, lasted more than a decade – and included more than 46 weapons tests, Hamilton added.
“We needed to see if it could fly high and fast pulling 9Gs. We also conducted mission system testing of all the sensors which allow us to execute a mission. This included countermeasures, data-links, radar and weapons delivery accuracy to ensure that the F-35 can find, fix and track targets,” Hamilton said.
The technical advances with weaponry enables the now deployed F-35s to draw upon an expanded mission set should it engage in air-to-air combat; Air Force F-35As have recently been deployed near the Korean peninsula and conducted a series of combat preparation exercises with allies. Marine Corps Short-Take-Off-and-Vertical-Landing F-35Bs are now deployed to Japan.Read full article